Guwahati: In a bizarre but familiar situation in Assam, an Indian Army retired officer, Mohd. Azmal Haque has been accused as an illegal immigrant by the Assam Police. He has been served notice to prove citizenship by the Foreigners’ Tribunal (FT).
Azmal Haque, who joined the Indian Army as a mechanical engineer in September 1986 and served the Indian Army for 30 years. He last held the rank of a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) when he retired and was appointed by then President late APJ Abdul Kalam in 2003.
Earlier Azmal Haque’s wife Mamataj Begum was accused as illegal immigrant. Foreigners’ Tribunal later held her an Indian citizen.
Ex Army officer was born in Kamrup district of Assam in 1968, “My father’s name (Maqbool Ali) is in the 1966 voter’s list, and in village surveys in 1961, 1962 and we have kheraj patta from 1963, while my mother’s name (Rahimon Nesa) is mentioned in the 1951 National Register of Citizens (NRC),” he says.
Haque says that the summon states that he had come to India after 1971 without any documents.
National Register of Citizens, 1951 is a register prepared after the conduct of the Census of 1951 in respect of each village, showing the houses or holdings in a serial order and indicating against each house or holding the number and names of persons staying therein.
These registers covered each and every person enumerated during the Census of 1951 and were kept in the offices of Deputy Commissioners and Sub Divisional Officers according to instructions issued by the Government of India in 1951. Later these registers were transferred to the Police in the early 1960s.
Azmal Haque’s son is studying in the prestigious Rashtriya Indian Military College (RIMC), Dehradun, which is a feeder institute to NDA, NAVAC and Indian Defense Services. He also wants to serve Indian Army.
It is difficult to miss the pain in Haque’s voice. “I am a khilonjia axomiya (someone whose origins are in Assam); I belong to this soil. Why is the government trying to harass us on communal grounds,” he says.
This is not the first time Tribunal served a notice to public servant. Earlier Assam Police accused its own Constable of being an illegal immigrant. On September 21, 2017, the Foreigners Tribunal held him an Indian citizen.
Aman Wadud, a Gawahati based activist and advocate says that it is a modus operandi of Assam Police. Indian citizens are being accused as illegal immigrants without any investigations.
“Many Indian citizens are held as “foreigners” for minor anomalies in their name and age in voting lists. Around 1000 such Indian citizens are being detained in detention camp without any parole. Many will breathe their last in detention camp”, tweeted Wadud.